Adopting “Healthy” Kids

When my husband and I started talking about adoption, we were really open to all types of children — ages, races, and even medical conditions. Since I am in health care, I feel like I’m pretty well suited for kids with medical needs.

Our agency, however, really only accepts healthy children, and we were immediately matched with two healthy children, even before our home study was approved.

So while it really didn’t matter, we were happy that our children were healthy.

But even for “healthy” children, our kids have spent HOURS at the doctor’s office in the last 2 months. At least 15 hours so far. Here’s what we know:

  • Our kids have a parasite that is considered benign in most people, but the doctor wanted to treat it anyway. So they are on antibiotics three times per day.
  • Our kids are TB skin test positive, but are negative for active TB. This means 9 months of antibiotic pills that have to be crushed daily and put in their food. We have to visit the Public Health Department every month for monitoring.
  • Our little girl has spina bifida occulta. She’ll need further assessment for neurologic damage.
  • They both have high lead levels. This will need repeated blood draws to make sure they come down in addition to multivitamins.
  • Our little girl is developmentally delayed in her gross and fine motor skills. We have to continue to monitor this, as she technically needs occupational therapy, but we are going to try putting her in more stimulating environment and reevaluate the need for therapy in 6 months.
  • Our little girl has high levels of hemoglobin F, which could mean mild anemia or thalassemia, and we’ll have to continue to monitor to see if the levels come down.
  • Our little boy is so developmentally ahead of where he should be, they think he could be as much as four years older than his stated age. We have to have a bone age done in 6 months to see if we can narrow down his age after 6 months of good nutrition.
  • They’ve only had a single round of vaccinations before arriving in the country, so we have to do vaccinations every month at this point.
  • And then there are the violent tantrums, which need to be assessed by a developmental psychologist. That starts in a week, and we all have to be there. We’ll see how often they want us to come back. I’m going to guess it’s going to be at least once per month.

Now of course, none of these appointments are after school. We have to pull our kids (who are already behind in school) out up to three times per week. And take off from work.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad our kids are “healthy,” but for being healthy, our kids sure have to take a lot of medicine and go to the doctor an awful lot! Turns out that our flexibility in adopting kids with special medical needs is coming in handy! I have to admit, though, that sometimes I’m a little overwhelmed by all of the medical stuff, in addition to the continued readoption paperwork, the loads of paperwork they each come home from school with each day, rearranging my benefits and financial plans, and working!

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